Graphic by Nick Hardin / Contributing Writer
One of the most exciting parts of every week is “New Music Fridays.” Every Friday, new albums and singles are released across all streaming platforms for music lovers to consume. The goal of this weekly column is to break down a number of singles that are released on a given Friday and distinguish which tracks I think are the best, the ones that are average and the ones that are simply not good at all. The good thing about this column is that it will not just cover a single genre of music, but it will explore many different realms of the music world, giving you a chance to come across new music discoveries.
Best Tracks of the Week
These are the tracks that I enjoyed the most out of all the singles I listened to this week and can see myself playing on repeat.
- “Money” by Cardi B – In her first official release since her “Invasion of Privacy” album that was released earlier this year, Cardi B comes back with another certified banger. J. White Did It gets production credits on this one, and he deserves it all and then some. While Cardi definitely flexed on her haters and spit some fire bars here, the beat and production absolutely carried this track from start to finish. Needless to say, Cardi B definitely has another song coming to a nightclub near you.
- “JT” by Jon Bellion – It comes as no surprise to me, but once again, for the second week in a row, Jon Bellion gives us another jam with the release of his second single from his upcoming album, “Sound Glory Prep.” The song gives us exactly what you would expect out of Bellion. The track consists of interesting verses, a choir providing beautiful background vocals and one of my favorite pre-choruses that I have heard in a while. With every single released from Bellion’s upcoming album, I cannot help but get even more excited for its release.
- “Sirens” by The Chainsmokers x Aazar – You can probably thank Aazar for the majority of the hard-hitting drops heard in this track. The Chainsmokers, in their more recent times, have started to stray more towards the pop route with their music but with two of their most recent releases, they have started to show their true EDM roots again. Songs like “Save Yourself” that the duo released with NGHTMRE a few weeks back and songs like “Siren” are why EDM fans ever fell in love with The Chainsmokers in the first place. More of this Alex and Drew, please, we are begging you. Sincerely, EDM fans everywhere.
- “Forever Right Now” by Conor Matthews – I am not sure what rock I have been hiding under lately, but apparently I have been living under one since I had not heard of Conor Matthews before today. A Nashville native, Matthews released his new track, and it is featured on this week’s New Music Friday playlist on Spotify. One of the best parts about writing this column is that every week there is a chance I may discover something or someone new, which is exactly what happened here. “Forever Right Now” is a phenomenal track. I honestly could not even make progress on this article because I could not quit listening to this one song on repeat. Major props to Matthews for this banger. I will have this one on repeat for the weeks to come and so should you. Support local artists, especially one this talented.
- “Werewolf” by Quinn XCII x Yoshi Flower – Quinn XCII never disappoints, and this track was no exception. Yoshi Flower, an artist I had not heard of before this track, made a nice addition to the track. The track sounded to me like it could have easily been on Quinn XCII’s 2018 album, “The Story of Us.” That is not a bad thing, considering that album is such a feel-good album with a lot of quality tracks. This is a fun, upbeat song with a catchy hook from XCII and a solid effort from Flower that helps round out this tune.
Meh Tracks of the Week
These were the tracks that I did not hate but I also did not love. Some of these tracks I may revisit at some point, and others I may not.
- “Close To Me” by Ellie Goulding x Swae Lee – Goulding’s first single since February, this pop track features a nice trap beat produced by Diplo and a solid feature from Swae Lee. Both Goulding and Swae Lee have solid verses and provide the song with a smooth, catchy hook, making this a tolerable track.
- “Arms Around You”by XXXTentacion x Lil Pump x Maluma – For the second time this week, Swae Lee shows up and gives us yet another great feature, this time with the help of the late XXXTentacion, Lil Pump and Maluma. This track is nothing like anything else we have ever heard from Pump or XXX, but the Latin vibe was well-suited for Swae Lee. However, despite the differences from their normal type of work, both Pump and XXX did their thing on this one. It is a fun, upbeat track that is sure to get the party going.
- “Waste It On Me” by Steve Aoki x BTS – Though this was not the best thing I heard this week, I have to admit I enjoyed it more than I expected to. Steve Aoki’s production is often hit or miss for me, but here he kept it simple and bearable. As far as BTS goes, the individual performances all stood their ground respectively, but there is just something about RM and his third verse that stood out here, as his solo performances often do. The hook, sung by BTS members Jungkook and Jimin, is definitely the best part of this track outside of that third verse mentioned earlier. A solid effort from both BTS and Aoki here.
- “Walk Like Him” by Mitchell Tenpenny – This song is an example of what country music is all about. I cannot lie, the first thing I thought of when I heard the beginning of this track was John Mayer. Tenpenny sounds eerily similar to Mayer, which obviously is not a bad thing at all. The song has to do with Tenpenny’s father passing away and how now every day Tenpenny tries to “walk like him.” The song dives into detail about the kind of example his dad set for him growing up,how he strives to be that kind of man today and knows his father is looking down on him. A solid song with a great story and an artist with a very soothing voice behind it makes this track one that is worth checking out.
- “Morning Song” by Land Of Color – Another new band discovery for me this week, Land Of Color has a gorgeous sound. “Morning Song” is only their second song to hit streaming platforms, but I definitely expect more out of them in the near future. Land Of Color is a Christian duo consisting of two members, Gary and Thomas, who just want to draw people to Jesus through their music. These guys are worth checking out. They have a very unique, soothing sound to them that you are sure to find enjoyment in.
Worst Tracks of the Week
These were the tracks that just were not doing it for me. I simply did not enjoy the tracks listed below, and I will not be revisiting them anytime soon.
- “Checklist” by Normani x Calvin Harris x Wizkid – The Calvin Harris production is easily the highlight of the track but still is not enough to save this generic pop effort. The only other bright spot on this track outside of the production is the Wizkid feature. But as far as Normani’s performance goes, I think I will pass on it and just continue to wish Fifth Harmony was still making music as a collective and not as soloists.
- “Make Up” by Vice x Jason Derulo x Ava Max – This track feels like 2014. Although 2014 was a year full of some huge hits, it also had a lot of annoying, repetitive, overplayed songs, and this feels like one that would have fallen in the latter category. Truthfully it sounds like 98% of the rest of Derulo’s songs, so I hope you are a fan of his or else this will probably be a skip for you as well.
- “Remember” by Gryffin x Zahara – A track sure to be coming soon to an American Eagle store near you. “Remember” is one of those mediocre EDM songs that consists of a decent, extremely upbeat drop and a super catchy, loud, obnoxious chorus. Do not get me wrong, I love the majority of Gryffin’s work as a producer, but this is probably one of his worst tracks. It definitely is not terrible, but Gryffin can definitely produce better results.
- “Bozoo” by 6ix9ine x Armoo – I am glad this song is only 2 minutes and 11 seconds long because I do not think I could have listened for another second. With the exception of maybe two or three songs, the majority of the time, I just cannot handle the 6ix9ine nonsense. It is almost as if he is just constantly yelling nonsense into the mic. The beat is not there, the lyrics are not there, and the track as a whole probably should not be anywhere either.
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